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Biden expresses hopes and expectations on situation in the Middle East

By Ricky Browne

As the deaths escalate in the war between Israel and Palestine – with a rate of more than 10 Palestinians killed for each Israeli killed – US President Joe Biden has come out and placed his support with Israel.

“My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory,” Biden said yesterday.

He was answering a question posed to him by a journalist about if he was concerned about the violence in the Middle East, and if he could talk about what conversations he had with officials there.

“My national security staff and Defense staff has been in constant contact with their counterparts in the Middle East — not just with the Israelis, but also with everyone from the Egyptians, to the Saudis, to the Emiratis, et cetera,” he was reported as saying on the White House site.

Biden and Bibi

Biden has had a long relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who he referred to by his nickname – Bibi – before reverting to his more formal title.

“And I had a conversation with Bibi Netanyahu not too long ago.  I’ll be putting out a statement very shortly on that.,” the White House reported him saying.

“But I had a conversation for a while with the — with the Prime Minister of Israel.”

Despite his earlier use of the word expectation, Biden seemed to be leaning more towards hope, as in his final sentence he said: “my hope is that we’ll see this coming to a conclusion sooner than later.”

Israel’s Iron Dome at work Photo: Amir Cohen/Reuters

The Palestinians may have hoped for a US President who would have a more balanced approach than the former President Donald Trump, but there expectations may have been for more of the same.

Israel’s Iron Dome has shot down about 90 percent of the Palenstinian rockets that entered Israeli airspace BBC graphic

But some pointed out that if Israel has the right to defend itself from Palestinian rockets  – which it does expertly with its Iron Dome – that it could follow that Palestine also has the right to defend itself against Israeli attacks.

The latest figures indicate that 83 Palestinians have been killed since Monday, including 17 children. In Israel, seven people have been killed by rockets launched from Gaza, including two children.

Smoke and flames rise from Gaza City following Israeli air strikes on Wednesday Photo: EPA

The Israeli military says that more than 1500 rockets have been launched towards Israel since Monday. Netanyahu says that Israel has attacked almost 1,000 targets in Gaza.

CIVIL WAR

Meanwhile the situation seems to be deteriorating not just between Palestine and Israel but within Israel’s borders. About 21 percent of Israel’s population – or almost two million people — is of Palestinian descent, composed of both Muslims and Christians – and relations between these non-Jewish Israelis and some Jewish Israelis is deteriorating fast.

Yesterday in Israel, some Arabs were attacked by gangs of Jewish people, while some Jewish people were attacked by Arab mobs.

The Arab-Jewish Israeli town of Lod has seen protests turn violent Photo: Reuters

And in a move that was reminiscent of the kind of hatred that was directed towards Jews early in Nazi Germany, a mob of about 100 Jewish protestors reportedly marched down Jaffa Street in Jerusalem, chanting “death to Arabs.”

Meanwhile, the term #Krystallnacht2021 was trending on Twitter, as people posted stories of both Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis attacking each other. The term though was being used mainly for stories about Arab Israelis attacking Jewish Israelis or their property.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has highlighted his concern for the internal situation.

“Nothing justifies the lynching of Arabs by Jews and nothing justifies the lynching of Jews by Arabs,” he said.

Israel also seems to be preparing for a ground offensive in Gaza It is accumulating troops on the border and has called up 7,000 reservists. But with a deteriorating situation inside its borders, its army may be stretched to be on the offensive on one hand, and defending itself from within on the other.

In fact, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has publicly said that troops should “prepare for battle”.

With the enemy now within, not just without, it looks like the situation in both Israel and Palestine will worsen for the foreseeable future.

But, the main story in much of the US continued to be about Republican Liz Cheney being booted out of the party for apparently being anti-Trump.

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